Life 201: An advice column

18 Feb

A guy I know writes this.  You’d probably like it.

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life-201

About these ads

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XVI

1 Jul

We’re going to change it up a bit this week.  Instead of waxing poetic with one long answer to one great question, I’m going to do rapid fire answers to some recurring questions.  Sound good? Here we go…

Grown Man,

What’s your favorite movie?

James
Asheville, North Carolina

The Godfather II. Next question.

Wait, wait, wait, I don’t care if this is rapid fire, you’re not allowed to be lazy – WHY is The Godfather II your favorite movie? Isn’t it full of things you talk about men not doing? Also, why II and not I or III?

Fine, here’s why.  It’s awesome.  There’s no moral high ground, there’s nothing redeeming, Michael and Vito aren’t heroes, the mafia killed people, everybody treated women poorly, and any logic used by any character was almost certainly flawed.

However…

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were stunningly good as Michael and Vito Corleone.  Not to mention the clothes, music, cinematography, depth of storytelling, editing, sound design (listen to the train in the Sollozzo and McCluskey scene), and casting are all perfect.

“He was stupid. I was lucky. I will visit him soon.”

And to your point about liking a movie that’s not very Grown Man-ish, to that I say, who cares? I’m not looking for movies, television, or music to impart some moral high ground, I’m looking to be entertained.  These things aren’t meant to raise us (or our kids) they’re meant to light up our minds.  So…you can read this blog for sound advice or, if you’re lucky, you can ask your awesome grandpa what being a Grown Man means.  But no matter what you do, don’t blame the messenger.  You are the owner of your influences and your actions.

Finally, regarding  your point about I and III.  The original Godfather wouldn’t be as great without the sequel, and the fact that you would ask about The Godfather III makes me angry.  You are on a one month suspension from reading Grown Man.

GM,

Where have you been?  You disappeared for over a year – and now you’re back!?  What’s with that?

Sincerely,
About A Million People

Short, true answer: Mrs. Grown Man and I busted out some kids.

Long, amusing answer: You need to start thinking about the You’re A Grown Man blog like you think about the McRib. Sometimes it’s there; sometimes it isn’t.  Why don’t they just keep it there year round? Nobody knows.  Why is the Filet-O-Fish always available but the McRib isn’t? It’s the greatest mystery of our age. However, what we do know is that when the McRib is on the menu, it’s a delightful morsel that satisfies our every desire.  When it’s gone, we remember how awesome it was and eagerly await its return.  Right now, the McRib is on the menu – go ahead and supersize it.

Hey Grown Man, I know you won’t answer this question, but why don’t you use your real name?  Why are you anonymous?  Also, your blog is amazeb*$#s.

Jeff
Scottsdale, Arizona

Thanks for the compliment, Jeff.  No, I take that back.  I do not thank you for the compliment.  I hate that word so much, and I am begging the folks who read this blog to create and sign some sort of petition stating that they’ll never say that word again.  Jeff, I’ve taught you better.  Gross.

To your question though, here’s why I’m anonymous: The guy who actually writes this has a name, a career, and all kinds of flaws.  Sometimes he writes GM for you – usually he’s writing it for himself.  If that fella lets GM do the talking, we all benefit.  Believe me, you don’t want to hear from the guy with a name – he is BOOOOOORING (but quite handsome).

That’s all for now, thank you all for asking such great questions.  Until next week, ask away…

I know it was you Fredo,
Grown Man

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XV

24 Jun

Grown Man,

From one grown man to another, can we agree that today’s 20-somethings are ridiculous?  I mean really…hipster, everyone gets a trophy, entitled kids?  C’mon Grown Man, help them out!

Gratefully,
Doug
Seattle, WA

Doug E. Fresh,

I’d like to begin answering your question by focusing on two completely unrelated points:

First point…Seattle is the greatest city ever.  I’ve spent some time there and must implore – nay – beg you to send me a doughnut from Mighty O’s and an espresso from Vivace.  I don’t know how you’ll get either of those to me fresh and warm, but that’s not my problem. ASAP, Doug, A-S-A-P!  My address is:

Grown Man
A House I Built
‘merica,
67650

Second point…Doug, did you realize that the original Space Jam website is still up and active?! This has nothing to do with you or anything you’ve asked, but I needed to tell the world so I randomly threw it into this post. Anyhow, you and the tens of other people reading need to go to this website and remember how amazingingly 8-bit the mid-90s were.

Now that we’ve got all that rigmarole out of the way, let’s finally get to your question. By way of review…

I’m Doug! I hate kids! I’m old and curmudgeonly!
-Doug

Douglas, three years ago, you and I would have been on the same page.  When this blog started, I was on a personal quest to transform every man into some idealized version of masculinity.  I railed against v-necks, skinny jeans, not carrying cash, and basically every fad/fashion that wasn’t timeless.  And while this was, arguably, the greatest, wittiest writing ever done by anyone in the history of the world – I don’t think I was right.

GROWM MAN! Are you saying you were WRONG!?  I thought part of being in an ivory tower was never having to admit you’re wrong!?

I know, and I’m sorry to disappoint you.  But I’ve observed something over the past few years that’s refined my thinking.  [Cue soft, reflective violin music]

The kid I worked with who inspired most of the early posts did something impressive – he grew up.  And as he grew up, some things became more Grown Man-ish. Things like: #13 – Ask a Girl Out (he did, and he married her), #44 – Be a Friend to Your Heartbroken Comrades (at his wedding, all his groomsmen cried and talked about what a loyal friend he is) and #74 – Slow Down (he’s present, he listens, and he has margin in his life).

Conversely, some things haven’t changed at all: #36 – Know the 7 T-Shirt Rules (he wears a shirt or tank-top to every event – and it’s awful),  #61 – Wear a Watch (he checks his iPhone – a lot), which ties in with #67 – Quit Screwing Around on Your Phone (he’ll literally play Candy Crush during a funeral if given the opportunity).

Mustache, check. Fixed gear, check.
Job, not so much.

Here’s the kicker though, the importance of  the things he doesn’t do is pale in comparison to the  value of the things he does do. What compels me to make fun of him in front of his friends and family is the fact that he’s wearing an American Flag tank top.  But what defines him is his character, friendship, and ability to love his wife and community well.  At the end of the day, being a Grown Man isn’t about what you wear, it’s about the trust that people have in you – and I trust this man, tank top and all.

Which, my dear Doug, brings me back to your question.  Yes, I think hipsters are ridiculous, what with their ironic glasses, vinyl copies of Bon Iver, and $200 vintage Chambray shirts.  However, when I was their age I was deep into my Dave Matthews phase, wearing Chaco sandals, and refusing to buy a suit because “Dave doesn’t wear a suit and he wrote #41 – whatever, DAD!”  And guess what? Some mid-30s-anonymous-blogger-guy was probably looking at me saying “grow up” – and he was probably right.  Every incarnation of youth is silly, Doug. Beatle-maniacs, hippies, gen X-ers, hipsters – all of them.  But what we can do is differentiate between what is an adolescent phase and what is real, rooted, and lasting – like a solid handshake, making eye contact, and meaning what you say.

However…we really have to force these kids to stop getting sleeve tattoos.  That junk’s going to haunt them someday.

Until next Monday, ask away.  Thanks for the question, Doug!

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XIV

17 Jun

Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been back for years!  Let’s get to helping…

Grown Man,

I have a “man friend” whom I met in a Uni math class. We have become good friends and we occasionally go out for lunch, talk on skype, text, etc. The problem is I’m as single as could be, yet he has a girlfriend of 2 years. It is clear that their relationship is semi-dysfunctional and that they have fallen out of love. He knows I am looking for a relationship, and he even told me not too long ago that he would date me. I’m getting sick of waiting for him to break up with his girlfriend. What should I do? Should I stop talking to him altogether and walk away?

-Forever Single Young Woman

The Other Woman,

Let us first address the fact that this guy, like you, is involved with Uni.  And while I don’t want to alarm you, I will say that during my college years I dabbled in the Uni arts and it ended up leading me down some very dark paths. I still can’t see my college mascot without weeping and convulsing. In all seriousness though, what the heck is Uni? Sea Urchin (you’ll need to click here to get this joke)? University of Northern Iowa?  Maybe it’s just short for University, but that just seems redundant.  All math at your school is Uni math if that’s the case – so that doesn’t make any sense.

More to your question, however, is what to do with your “man friend” – we’ll just call him Unitard.  As I see it, one of three scenarios is playing out:

Go UNI's!!!

Go UNI Panthers!

Scenario one: He’s a good man who met you during math and realized that solving for x meant having you in his life.  Maybe he’s torn between two lovers and genuinely struggling with a difficult decision.  I hope this is the scenario, as it’s the one that’s most affirming to you and your awesomeness – TI-82 and all.  However, I said we’ve got three scenarios, so…

Scenario two: Unitard is pulling a classic, well-worn, guy-move which unfolds as follows:

1- Guy realizes a year ago that he wants to break up with his girlfriend.
2- Guy waits a year because breaking up is a giganto pain-in-the-protractor, and children like to avoid pain.
3- Guy snaps.
4- Guy becomes distant from his girlfriend.
5- Guy starts flirting with another girl because a) He’s trying to get caught and get broken up with (way easier than doing the breakup)  b) The other girl makes him feel rejuvenated, alive, passionate and all the things he’s been missing for the last year in his cruddy relationship.
6- Guy talks himself into believing that math-mistress is the right girl…while all along it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with him, what he needed, and what emotional void you – oops – she was filling.
7- Guy reconnects with, gets engaged to, and marries the original girlfriend.  Uni math is left wondering what she did wrong, why she wasn’t good enough, etcetera, etcetera.

The Other Woman, if this scenario is right (and history would tell us that it is), you’re not being wooed because you’re the greatest lady ever, but because you represent all that was lost with the 2-year girlfriend.  You’re funny, passionate, interested in him and easy (not in the gross way, but in the emotionally available way). You’re being used like methadone, and you deserve to be the singular focus of some man’s attention and affection.

So, my answer to your question is this: It’s time to exit gracefully. Maybe, like many great men, he’s just in a confusing place and his current actions don’t necessarily speak of his overall character and date-ability.  Fine.  When he breaks up with his 2-year girl, then you can resume flirting.  But for now, it’s probably best to let him sort his junk out without making you the obtuse angle of a triangle (you’ll learn that in Uni-201).

Hold on though, didn’t I say there were three scenarios?  Scroll up… I did!

Scenario Three: Uni is short for Universal Citizens of Galaxy 9, and this is all some sort of cult thing that I don’t understand. If this is the case, lace up your matching Nikes and have at it!

Thank you for your question, Other Woman…and for everyone else reading, I’ll be answering another question next Monday – ask away!

3.14159,
Grown Man

be quiet.

30 Jan

One of the phrases that drives me bananas during the course of day-to-day conversationis…  Well, actually I have to set it up properly to have the full effect.  Here’s the setup:

Manager:  Sales are down – way down.  Skippy, we’ve got to come up with some exciting new marketing strategy.  How about hiring a homeless guy to hold a sign? It’ll be perfect!

You (Skippy): Great idea, Mr. Manager.  I’ll head down to the shelter.

Manager: Hazaa!  [HERE COMES THE PHRASE I HATE] So like I said, we’ll hire a homeless guy to hold the sign. It’ll be perfect!

You (Skippy): Right, that’s what we just… anyhow, great.

Here’s the issue gentlemen: you talk too much.  It’s clear when guys use phrases like, “So like I said…” to not only say something, but also introduce the fact that they’re going to say it again.  Unnecessary.  Any man worth his weight in bow-ties needs to have the confidence to know that when they speak, they’re heard.  And they need to have the courage to know that if they don’t have anything to say, the world won’t stop, and they’ll still be significant.  Speaking more doesn’t equate to being more – it equates to lack of temperance.

Be quiet. Here’s why:

1- It gives you time to listen.  The coolest men ever are the ones that lean back, make eye contact, and listen to what you’re saying.  They don’t do that thing where they kind of pre-breathe/start a word as a verbal cue, indicating that it’s time for them to talk.  They just listen, and they communicate your value to you by not stepping over what you’re saying.  Additionally, they are smarter because they up the ratio of importing information to exporting yada yada yada.

2- You’ll have a voice when you do speak. As a man, when you say something, you want to be heard.  It makes you feel valued, and that, in turn, helps out with ye olde pride.  When you talk all the time, people tend to average out the time they listen to you and catch every ninth monologue. You don’t want this.  You want it all to count.  Be disciplined.

3- It’s cool.  Don Draper, Clint Eastwood, 007.

So like I said, be quiet.  I promise you, it’ll work out in your favor.

You’re a Grown Man, be quiet.

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XIII

8 Nov

Hey Grown Man,

I love the outdoors and everything about it. My idea of “a good time” involves kayaks, climbing harnesses, tents, and Wyoming.

My question is, what does this mean for my (hypothetical) lady-friend who doesn’t dig the outdoors? I can put up with cuddling on the sofa watching the Notebook, but enough’s enough.

Advice?

-Mountain Man

Mountain Man,

First, I’d like to publicly chastise you for coming up with your own nickname.  How dare you sir, how dare you indeed.  As the proprietor of this here blog, I take great joy in reading a question like yours and coming up with an oh-so-witty salutation.  For instance, I might have started this reply with, “Dearest Timothy Treadwell” or “Guy Who Secretly Loves the Notebook and is Seeking My Approval for His Nicholas Sparks Obsession.”  However, you did come up with a passable nickname, so… I forgive you.  On to more pressing matters.

At least the documentary was awesome

How is a man of the wilderness able to coexist with a woman of worldliness?  Oh no, wait, here’s a better one: How can a gentlemen of the outdoors love a woman of shopping mall stores?  I should’ve quit on the first one.  Anyhow, it’s a tough question.  Because really, there’s no silver-bullet that will somehow help you and this hypothetical woman co-exist in a perfectly balanced tent and town-house life.  The real question is: To what extent are you willing to compromise? Answering this question will go a far way in solving your initial query.

Here’s what I’m talking about.  Relationships aren’t meant to change or define, but rather to refine.  It’s a fine line but one that must be guarded at all times in order to avoid resentment from either party. While a dream scenario may be to get her to completely convert and become an REI shopping, Kavu wearing, get lost and love it type of person — she just may not be wired that way. Certainly you can understand, can’t you?  You aren’t wired to enjoy an evening of window shopping, dining at Chili’s, and cuddling at home in front of the latest Julia Roberts project, “Eat, Pray, Dying Career”.  But, even though you’re not going to redefine each other as individuals, you can still meet somewhere in the middle.  So, here are your options:

1- Compromise. If this woman is worth giving and taking a little bit for, do it.  Do your best to show her what you love about nature without overwhelming her but also suck it up a bit and learn how to give a crap about her world.  Compromise is key — for both of you!

2- Cheerlead. Sometimes, there is no middle ground and you’ve got to take a sideline, cheerleader, approach.  For instance, Mrs. Grown Man likes to run marathons. I, conversely, really like to not run marathons.  Therefore, I’ve got a job to make her feel supported without directly participating in what can only be described as 26.2 miles of insanity and torture.  So, I go to the races and clap with the rest of the wise non-marathoners and I make sure to tell her how amazing she is at least 50 times for each mile she’s run.  Mountain Man, Uptown Girl may not be able to get stoked about your world and, additionally, you may not be able to get jazzed about hers.  But, can you at least be excited and supportive of the other person. Right?

3- Be done. Everyone, you need to pay attention to the next statement: Marriage doesn’t fix anything that’s busted in dating or engagement — it only magnifies it.  Therefore, Mountain Man, if this is a big issue that no amount of compromise or cheerleading can fix, you’ve got to both ask each other if this is a relationship worth keeping.  I know this is an extreme response to a difference of interests, and I really hope you guys can find a way, but if you can’t and this is a big deal, it’ll only get bigger post-nuptials.  Sorry, bud.

So as I see it, those are your three options.  My encouragement to you would be to be bold in finding which of them works for you guys and pursue it with gusto.  Also, you really should move to Wyoming — it’s freaking beautiful out there, man.

Into the Wild,
GM

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 241 other followers

%d bloggers like this: